Morning Prayer Summary for Thursday, June 18, 2020

Pastor Ray…

Good morning! It’s Thursday. It’s a good day. I have a couple of things in the Bible to read. The gist of it is “peace be still.”

Thank You, Lord, for Your precious Holy Spirit. Thank You for an infusion this morning and a fresh stirring, that Your anointing is working in and through us. We’re strong in You and in the power of Your might… not ours. We’re full of Your joy that makes us strong.

I was listening to Bob Dylan from 1980. My brother-in-law in the early 80s worked for me. Our whole basement in our house was a studio and we made all kinds of artwork and sold it. We were always a fan of Bob Dylan. In 1980, he came out with three in a row, absolutely, totally Christian albums. And he got persecuted for it because the world didn’t want to hear it. But he went for it anyway. I’m just going to read you these lyrics. They are great.

It starts out with, “I was blinded by the devil… born already ruined… stone cold dead as I stepped out of the womb… by His grace, I’ve been touched… by His Word, I’ve been healed… by His hand, I’ve been delivered. I’ve been saved by the blood of the lamb… Saved by the blood of the lamb… saved, saved, I’m so glad, I’m so glad, I’m so glad, I’m so glad! I want to thank You, Lord… I want to thank You, Lord… thank You, Lord.”

And then this is the next song:
By His truth, I can be upright… by His strength, I do endure… by His power, I’ve been lifted… In His love, I’m secure… He bought me with a price… He freed me from the pit… full of emptiness and wrath and the fire that burns in it… I’ve been saved by the blood of the lamb… saved by the blood of the lamb… saved, saved, I’m so glad, I’m so glad… so glad… I want to thank You, Lord.

Then He sang, “Nobody to rescue me… nobody would dare… I was going down for the last time, but by His mercy I’ve been spared… not by works but by faith in Him who called… for so long I’ve been hindered… for so long I’ve been stalled… but I’ve been saved by the blood of the lamb… saved by the blood of the lamb… I’m so glad, I’m so glad, I’m so glad… I want to thank You, Lord.

Does that sound like somebody that was saved? I love it. Those are all scriptural words. Sealed by the blood. Cleansed by the blood. Healed by the Word. For us at that time, we were so over the top blessed to hear all those songs that were so godly. At that time, late 70s and early 80s, there wasn’t a lot of Christian songs. Do you remember any?

Annie shared…

They were pretty few and far between.

Pastor Ray…



There were a few, they called them “contemporary Christian artists.” Even worship music. There was Maranatha music which came out of California. I’ve thought about something a lot lately. It’s something precious to me. There was no worship industry. It’s turned into an industry. I’m not saying that’s bad because anything that gets the Word of God out, we’re all in favor of. But when I was first baptized in the Holy Spirit, there weren’t any nondenominational churches. There were only denominational churches. You could go to the Catholic church, the Lutheran church, the Episcopal church. When I moved to Minnesota, I was shocked to find out there was a church called the Evangelical Free church, like whoa! People who are born again have their own church. The only Holy Ghost person I knew was this older woman and she gave me a list of all these charismatic fellowships that has sprung up in the 70s here. She said, “Check them out.” So I checked them out. But what the music was, was when you would go to a meeting, even if it was a couple hundred people, these were songs that nobody except the people who went to these meetings knew of. Yet, they were songs that had gone around the globe in the Charismatic Renewal. Not through being on a record. It was because when people gathered who were freshly filled with the Holy Spirit, spontaneous songs were written that became the anthems of the Charismatic Renewal. So when I first attended these fellowships, I would be this little person sitting in the back row, like “I hope nobody comes and talks to me, cuz maybe these people are weird.” But everyone would begin to sing, and they would spontaneously sing all these different songs. And everybody in the room somehow knew the song without a hymn book or chord chart or a screen. I would hear 100s of people all worshiping God and harmonizing supernaturally. It was so precious and so supernatural. And it lifted every heart, especially my own, into the presence of God.

It’s so different now days. Then when Bob Dylan, a secular person who was well known in the music “industry.” He began writing songs that expressed his experience with Jesus. That was such an unusual thing for those who are of the current generation, it all probably sounds like ancient history. And it is.

Fast forward a couple years when, through a bunch of things God did, I ended up in a church that has sprung out… there were all these churches that spontaneously started springing out of the move of the Holy Ghost. And many of them are mega churches today like Hill Song and others. There are a lot of churches that exist now but there was nothing like it back then. But there was an explosion of these kind of churches because all the people who were swept into the kingdom of God and the baptism of the Holy Ghost needed some place to go other than these little home groups. And God created all these churches. And then the churches started having worship music but there was very little worship music. Dottie Rambo, she wrote. There was southern gospel but that was so alien to a lot of us Bob Dylan types.

So we would get together with the “worship leaders” at these other churches. And here’s another thing. If you are a worship leader at a church, you were a volunteer. Everybody was a volunteer. But everybody just wanted to be there and worship God. And it was such a thrill to be able to do that. But we would have these meetings. We called them “Us for the Nations.” Because Christ for the Nations was a Bible school in Texas. They had a lot of music they were writing. These are things I’ve been pondering of late because we get together once in a while with the leaders who we met with back then. We were all so isolated and alone and looking for worship songs. We would write our own worship songs because there weren’t any, other than the hymn books.

When we had these reunions with our old friends from way back then who are still in worship ministry, by the way, it will come up, “Remember how sweet that was? Remember how pure that was?”  When people would just gather and there wasn’t a band. There might be a guitar but everyone in the room would be lifting their voices to God. And you would hear angelic harmonies. God is in all of it. I’m not criticizing anything today. But particularly as you advance in your walk with the Lord, He’ll bring to your remembrance the times when He first called your name. And He led you in the wilderness and whispered to your heart beautiful things. And it was dependent on all this big show. I’m all in favor of that because people are in the world looking and need a loud voice to get their attention. But many of us back then, there were no loud voices in the culture is what I’m talking about. The loud voices of the culture were Jimmy Hendrix and Cream and the Beatles and Bob Dylan and disco music. Just the miracle of how Jesus in so many ways He draws our hearts to Him.

If you’ve heard of Brother Yoon, he came into the things of God supernaturally like that in a remote village of China with no Bible or anything. But they would meet in a cave. As they walked along the road in the pouring rain running from the police, they would get all these songs. So the underground church in China, which is the largest church in the world, they say. I don’t know how many million believers there are. It was organized by the Spirit of God. He said the songs they would get in these caves are still the songs they sing in the underground church. So when I hear a song like “As the deer panteth for the water…” There are so many of those old songs. It brings me back to that sweet place of just being … like sometimes when I’m worshiping, I try to put myself in a cave with persecuted believers just to try to experience Jesus in that way as once did. Because He has never changed. The ways He’s reaching out to the world change all the time because He’ll adapt to you in what you need. Even if it’s Bob Dylan in your basement making art!

Pastor Ray…

That reminded of some things. I remember the first Christian album that I bought was Phil Keaggy. He was an awesome guitarist in the world. But then he got saved. I’d listen to that album over and over. When we started going to Living Word, there was one man that played the accordion. I was like, “I don’t know about that.” I took all my other worldly music to the garbage. So the garbage man was blessed. Let’s worship the Lord for a while.

Annie led group in worship…

Pastor Ray…

I felt this story in Mark 4:35 about Jesus out on the boat. “On that same day [when] evening had come, He said to them, Let us go over to the other side [of the lake].” It’s seven miles across the lake! 36 And leaving the throng, they took Him with them, [just] as He was, in the boat [in which He was sitting]. And other boats were with Him. 37 And a furious storm of wind [of hurricane proportions] arose, and the waves kept beating into the boat, so that it was already becoming filled. 38 But He [Himself] was in the stern [of the boat], asleep on the [leather] cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, Master, do You not care that we are perishing?”
You just know they didn’t say that to Him casually. They were freaking out! Put yourself in that situation.
Verse 39 “And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was [immediately] a great calm (a perfect peacefulness). 40 He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)? 41 And they were filled with great awe and feared exceedingly and said one to another, Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey Him?”
Then they went to the other side of the lake. In the King James version says, “In the same day when the evening was come, he saith unto them, let’s pass over onto the other side. 36 And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.” I wonder where the other little ships went? It doesn’t say anything more about them. 37 And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. 38 And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? 39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Now this is His word. This is “the” word, but His Word has been given to us. Close your eyes for a minute. Let the Holy Spirit show you something in your life that needs to be still. That needs to calm down. That needs to be shut down. That needs to be put away. That needs to go… to be changed… to be opened… to be rearranged. It could even be the flesh that’s trying to speak and overrise the spirit. So what we say today to these situations, could be symptoms, could be financial problems. The list is long where the enemy would try to work and bring his ways. But we have been given this Word from the Bible when Jesus said to the storm and there are all kinds of storms in the earth in these days. Just let Him reveal to each of us where calm needs to come. And then to the earth, all over the earth.

So let’s say it together. On the count of three, we’re going to speak the word that He spoke and let fear go concerning the future. Whatever the situation is, whatever you’ve heard, whatever you thought, seen or heard, we say today, one… two… three… “PEACE BE STILL!” Say it again. PEACE BE STILL! And we rest in Him knowing that those words are His words and they calmed the hurricane force winds immediately. By faith, receive. By faith, we accept. By faith, we believe it. Stillness. A rest in Him. The peace that passes understanding. Thank You for rearranging and changing and opening and closing for whatever needs to be done, Lord. We yield ourselves to You this morning. Annie, please play a little bit while we wait on Him.

Annie led in worship…

Pastor Ray…

We wait on You, Lord.

Psalm 46 says, “God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear,” therefore we will not fear. Therefore we will not fear. Therefore we will not fear. “though the earth should change and though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas,” therefore we will not fear. 3 “Though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! 4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. 5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God will help her right early [at the dawn of the morning]. 6 The nations raged, the kingdoms tottered and were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our Fortress and High Tower). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]! 8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolations and wonders in the earth. 9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow into pieces and snaps the spear in two; He burns the chariots in the fire. 10 Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our Refuge (our High Tower and Stronghold). Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!”

Lord, we look unto Your Word and know what You said is the truth. We believe for eyes to see the way You see. Ears to hear Your Word working through all of us. You and me, the church, the body of Christ. We’ve come to this time and place to stand up strong, keep our position in that place of refuge and high tower. A very, very present and well-proved help in any kind of trouble. And even when there’s not trouble! Thank You for Your presence.

I like verse 4. There’s a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.

Annie led group in singing “There Is a River…”

Pastor Ray…

This chapter says that the nations are raging and things are going crazy, seemingly. All kinds of different things happening that are not God kind of things. But in verse 10 it says, “Let be and be still and know and recognize and understand that I am God.” Thank You, Lord. “I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth!” And we’re going to be glad.

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